This trip operates on a land only basis. To join the trip you can either make your own way there by car, fly into Bergerac, or take a train to Brive La Galliard. The village of Les Eyzies, in the heart of the Vezere Valley has 900 inhabitants and is surrounded by many caves and prehistoric remnants, including some of the most beautiful to be seen in Europe, and other historical/archaeological attractions. On arrival at Camping La Riviere in Les Eyzies we will set up camp, where we will be based for the first 3 nights.
Following breakfast there is an optional 3½ hour guided walk through the tranquil rural landscape of Les Eyzies to Moustier. We will pass cliff and rock formations, rivers, and picturesque countryside before arriving at mediaeval Moustier, made famous by the discovery of two prehistoric shelters. A skeleton of a Neanderthal type man was uncovered in one of the shelters.
The afternoon is spent on the river, canoeing past chateau, limestone cliffs (containing both prehistoric troglodyte caves, home to some of the earliest caveman dwellings in Europe), historic stone bridges, attractive hamlets and wooded rural landscapes. Roughly 3.5hrs later our canoes bring us back to Les Ezyies. The canoes are heavy and unsinkable, they seat 2 adults with a child seat in the centre, 4 seat canoes are also available.
Today is free to enjoy the area. Your leader will be happy to talk you through all of the options for available activities and a few suggestions include: visiting local caves (both troglodyte and geological), walks in the surrounding area, hiring a bike, horse-riding, visiting a local museum, swimming or simply partaking in a long lunch enjoying one of the areas most celebrated assets, food and wine.
This morning it's all hands on deck as we break camp. Once everything is packed up you transfer to Sarlat, the most famous town in the Dordogne and a great place to explore. Sarlat is a very attractive walled town with lots of windy alleyways and cobbled lanes to wander, and great markets to peruse. The town has many artists and gallerys, as well as plenty of cafes offering local delicacies such as truffles and fois gras. The old town is comprised of medieval and renaissance buildings, to the south east side there is a lovely cathedral combining Roman and Gothic styles.
Leaving Sarlat after lunch you make a short journey to arrive at camp (30 mins). Set up camp and enjoy a welcome dip in the campsite pool.
Camping le Capeyrou - 4 nights - Swimming Pool
We take to two wheels today on a full day bike adventure. After setting up your bikes and having a safety briefing you set out into the countryside, following quiet lanes for the most part. Stop for a picnic lunch beside the river in an idyllic village, and in the afternoon visit the very pretty hilltop walled town of Domme. Parts of the fortified walls still survive as do the original gateways into the centre, the ramparts are extremely thick stone and you can walk around them for great views across the countryside and down to the river. Later you bike back to your campsite.
Set off on foot for a walk along the riverside (1 hour) then you begin to climb up the hill to reach Chateau de Castelnaud (20 mins); please note that the entrance fee to the castle is not included. The castle was built in the 12th century and is a great example of the classic defence system comprising of strong outer walls and an inner keep. It has a dramatic history of conflict and throughout the course of history has changed hands from French to English, and English to French. There is a museum containing a collection of arms and armaments and various animations of medieval life. You can take a guided tour in English and then have time to explore by yourselves. Return on foot to camp when you are ready or with the group.
Today is a full day of canoeing. From the canoe centre in Beynac you will transfer up river by minibus and (following a safety briefing) begin canoeing back downstream to Beynac. We stop several times for breaks, a picnic lunch, to do some rope swinging and for an icecream en route! This is a great fun day for all ages; kids and parents alike, and we take our time to enjoy the sights and the scenery alongside the river rather than racing back. (BL)